FortressCraft creator DjArcas put up a very interesting blog post today that explores the recent extremely positive Minecraft reviews. He kindly points out that Minecraft is currently sitting at a hefty 96 MetaCritic score whilst games like Skyrim, Uncharted 3, and even Zelda, at the time of writing, fall below it. He makes some very interesting, fair points that point out the flaws with how Minecraft seems to be reviewed. You can check out the post below or follow the link to read it on his blog.
So, Minecraft’s finally out, hurray! My main experience with playing it on launch day was full of crashes and very low framerates, but I’m sure that’s not been everyone’s experience!
So, right now Minecraft is running a MetaCritic score of 96; by comparison, Skyrim has 94, Batman 94, Uncharted 3 92 and Zelda 95. I’m sorry, did the world just go mad? Minecraft is better than Skyrim?
As a completed game, competing directly against the world’s best games for your hard-earned dollar, I have to wonder why all the reviewers are skipping over so many of its shortcomings. Did the mainstream reviewing media just go all hipster on us?Let’s have a look at a few of those review snippets:
[Minecraft] has already joined Super Mario Brothers, Wolfenstein 3D, and Tetris in the pantheon of games that prototyped an entire genre.
Wolfenstein wasn’t even ID’s first FPS game, let alone the first in the genre. Tetris was based on a classic Russian wooden block game. To try to claim Super Mario Bros. as the first platform game is just ludicrous. In the same vein; I suspect the Infiniminer guys are seething at comments like that; let alone the *first* proto-voxel game by Ken Silverman, VoxLap. May, 2000, by the way. That’s 11 years ago. Why is gaming history not one of journalist’s strong points? Wolfenstein 3D and Super Mario Bros *were* important, seminal games in those genres; the first blockbuster in that genre, sure, but to credit them; or Minecraft; with having created a genre? That’s like claiming that Star Wars invented the sci-fi genre – instead, it simply popularised it, and gave it credibility.
…critiquing Minecraft’s ready-made dungeons and NPC villages is a bit like complaining about the beans served alongside an immaculate five-star steak. Sure, the side-servings might be mediocre…
Ok, so if the game has a bunch of mediocre things, why the hell did you just award it 100/100? That insinuates that it’s aperfect game! The only game to get a perfect score on the C64 was Mayhem in Monsterland; the magazines simply said ‘There will never be a game better than this on the C64, so we feel correct in awarding it a perfect score.’
While the toybox/platform side of Minecraft is incredible, the “game” side of it is lacking.
The game side is lacking, yet you award it 93%? (I’d love to see these guys get ahold of FortressCraft, if they think the creative options in Minecraft are ‘incredible’) The idea that a game that lacks… gameplay… can get 93% scares me for the future of gaming.
As one of the comments put it on the EG review – “Would you have given it 10/10 if it didn’t have such a massive fanbase?’
Now, the user score is 78% – a much more sensible rating. Whilst Minecraft is a great game, it’s not perfect, it’s not polished, and it’s not finished – despite being out of ‘beta’
Here’s my personal list of things that really should have knocked a few points off that 100. (just to repeat there – lots of places are awarding this 100% – they are saying it is not only the best game ever made, they are saying that nothing can be better. Even Ocarina of Time, that darling of gamers everywhere, only has a MetaCritic rating of 99!)
- The doors don’t animate
- The experience points don’t do anything
- There’s no manual or instructions
- It’s impossible to craft without referring to websites (unless you have thousands of hours to guess possible crafting options of course)
- The minecarts are buggy and broken. They also have no point at all (barring acting as some sort of tour guide – what does that have to do with survival?)
- The combat is simplistic, outdated and quite poor. Ultima Underworld had better melee combat. In 1992.
- The AI is very poor with mobs bouncing up and down and getting stuck on things repeatedly. (A popular target for many reviews of FPS games, yet Minecraft gets away with it)
- The achievements aren’t stored per account.
- No mod support.
- Only one game mode (Creative adds flying and no limits on blocks – it’s more of a cheat mode than a game mode!)
- No PVP (or, if you include griefing, ‘Shit PVP’)
- The sound effects are poor quality, repetitive and decidedly amateurish.
- End to end, from start to end sequence, Adventure mode takes about 3 hours.
- There’s. No. Fucking. Server. Browser.
Let’s just focus on that last one for a second; Minecraft is a game about surviving things in a multiplayer world. Yet there’s no way to join anyone’s server. You can’t show your stuff off. Can you imagine if Gears of War 3 had come out, and you had to write down a 12 digit number and send it to your friends?
Yet, apparently, Minecraft is the best game ever written.
Sure, I might be nitpicking a little; but to be the highest metacritic scored game on the PC, it needs to be better thaneverything on the PC – it needs to have almost no flaws, it needs to execute everything perfectly, it needs an incredible variety of gameplay; it needs to look, sound and play better than anything on the market.
Don’t even get me started on the graphics; apparently Nvidia and ATi have wasted billions of dollars with this new fangled shader technology, and pointless advances like anisotropic filtering; the best game in the world doesn’t bother with any of these pointless foibles, and instead settles for something that wouldn’t have looked out of place in 1994.
- Is Minecraft great? Yes!
- Has it helped to redefine how people think about Indie Games? Yes!
- Is it the best PC game ever written? Uhhh…
…I’ll let you guys answer that last one. Try and keep it on topic; as I’ve said, many a time, I’m ecstatic that FortressCraft is second only to Minecraft – that’s an incredible honour. Any comments along the lines of ‘BUT UR GAME IS SHIT COMPARED 2 MIENCRAFT!!!’ aren’t going to get approved.
Next article: Why I love Serious Sam 3 so much! (74% metacritic rating…)